LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The Premier Sports Campus has been a commercial success for the developers of the master-planned community as well as the surrounding area businesses.
But as the 140-acre campus on Post Road off State Road 70 adds music festivals and family fun runs accompanied by "after parties" with music, dancing and disc jockeys, some neighbors say the added noise isn't welcome.
A handful of residents who live in the Banks section of Greenbrook say the noise generated by these events early in the morning and late into the evening are becoming a nuisance, something they never expected when they bought homes there, which they now regret.
"If we had known they were going to take a watermelon patch and turn it into a concert facility, we never would have bought our home here. Everything is about money with this developer. This is
the way they operate. I feel sorry for people whose backyard faces that complex," said Richard Marini, who bought his Golden Eye Glen home in Greenbrook with his wife in 2006.
The Premier Sports Campus has been open for more than a year. This year it began hosting events involving music. In March, the inaugural Winterfest, featuring national acts from multiple music genres, debuted there.
More than 2,000 people showed up early one April morning to take part in a 5K fun run and walk called Color Vibe, in which participants are blasted with different colors along the course, followed by a dance party hosted by a professional sound crew and disc jockey. And in August, a new night-time version of the race, called Neon Vibe, will debut there. Organizers are also promoting an after-party planned to pump up the crowd with club dance music, giveaways and a live DJ.
The Premier Sports Campus has a general, administrative permit approved for low-intensity recreational use, according to Suzanne Fugate, vice president of Lakewood Ranch Development, a division of developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc., which owns the sports campus.
"Under this permit, all the activities we are holding out there are allowed. The only things we have to get special permits for are the tents," she said.
Greenbrook resident Victor Kline, whose backyard in the Banks section of the village faces the campus, says the pumping bass of the music has become a nuisance. He said the high-intensity lights at the sports facility fields beam directly into his backyard at night. He called them an unfortunate part of the deed-restricted community's growth, but said the music is now a real problem.
"It was a much quieter community when my wife and I moved here. When the sports complex became an entertainment venue, it created noise pollution. I want to do something about it before it becomes the Lakewood Ranch Fairgrounds. The noise is a quality-of-life issue and my wife is concerned about how it could affect our property values," Kline said.
Kline said he has reached out to Manatee County commissioners, the Manatee County Building Department, local law enforcement and SMR. Kline said he tried asking the coordinators of Color Vibe to turn down the bass, which started before the walk began at 9 a.m., but they refused to do so. He's asked the sports complex to make the same request to Neon Vibe.
"Whatever we do, we always make sure it's nothing that will bring any type of issues to our community. Our events are well maintained, they are safe and we have good traffic control. We would never want to do anything that would jeopardize that," said Antonio Saviano, director of sports for the campus, who said he has spoken to Kline and is trying to help him alleviate concerns.
"Neon Vibe is nothing out of the ordinary. They hold it everywhere in the country, including one just recently in Fort Myers. There is no alcohol involved. This is not a rave. The music won't go after 11 p.m. It will be within the guidelines of the Manatee County noise ordinance," Saviano said.
So far, no other residents besides Kline have voiced any concerns about the sports campus to the Greenbrook Homeowners Association or the district, according to Supervisor Keith Davey,
"No one else has said it was a problem so we won't bring it up at a district meeting. We're hearing more positive things about it than anything else."
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.